Roll up, roll up

If you have a cel­e­bra­tion com­ing up, you might want to bust out the cigars… These Moroc­can-style canapes are sure to de­light.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD WITH SAM MANNERING -

I’ve al­ways longed to write about the mighty pastilla, a grand cel­e­bra­tion dish from Morocco, a pie of pies, a heady and elab­o­rate mix of sweet, salty and spicy; deca­dent, ex­otic and a lit­tle bit ridicu­lous. How­ever, I know that we New Zealan­ders strug­gle with the idea of eat­ing pi­geon (which is what it is tra­di­tion­ally made with), let alone try­ing to source it, so I’m of­fer­ing a sort of sim­pli­fied take made with some­thing a lit­tle closer to home.

I should point out that pi­geon is de­li­cious when done well – and if you can get hold of some non-city-park-pi­geon or squab, go for it. Al­ter­na­tively, you can use chicken; I’ve even made them with wild duck and they’ve been pretty damn de­li­cious.

Make these as large or as small as you like; I think they make a pretty de­cent wee canape-ish sort of thing; but you may want to make them large enough for lunch or din­ner. Use Med­jool dates if you can get hold of them; they’re beau­ti­ful and well worth the in­vest­ment.


Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Serves: 6-8 as a snack

1kg bone­less lamb shoul­der or leg 2 tbsp ras el hanout

Olive oil

Salt and pep­per

1 red onion, finely sliced

4 large dates, finely chopped

2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted

Large hand­ful each of mint and co­rian­der, roughly

chopped 100g but­ter, melted 1 tsp cumin seeds

Filo pas­try (a 375g packet will do per­fectly)

Pre­heat the oven to 160C.

Rub the lamb down with a ta­ble­spoon of the ras el hanout, a good glug of olive oil and a gen­er­ous sea­son­ing of salt and pep­per. Pop in the oven for at least an hour and a half, un­til the meat is cooked through and is lovely and ten­der. Al­low to cool down.

In the mean­time, in a large mix­ing bowl, com­bine the sliced red onion, chopped dates, pine nuts, and chopped mint and co­rian­der with the re­main­ing ras el hanout and a ta­ble­spoon of olive oil.

Once the lamb is cool enough to han­dle, shred it with your fin­gers and fold into the red onion mix­ture. Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly.

Com­bine the melted but­ter and cumin seeds. Bring the heat of the oven up to 180C.

Lay out the filo and brush a layer with the melted but­ter, scat­ter­ing a few cumin seeds over the sur­face. Add about a ta­ble­spoon of fill­ing in a 5cm line in the cen­tre, fold the top and bot­tom over and roll the sides across into a cigar shape, so that the fill­ing is com­pletely en­closed. Re­peat un­til you are out of mix­ture. Brush with any re­main­ing but­ter, place on a lined bak­ing tray and bake for about 15-20 min­utes, un­til they are golden brown and crisp. Al­low to cool a lit­tle be­fore serv­ing.

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